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Preparations intensify for Kiswahili Day celebrations

Different partners from the language cultural heritage in Mombasa have come together to enroll in a series of activities that are to be done in preparation for Kiswahili Day celebrations slated for July 7, 2023.

On November 23, 2021, during its 41st member state session held in Paris, France, the United Nations Educational Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed July 7 of each year as the World Kiswahili Language Day.

This makes Kiswahili as the first African language to be feted by the United Nations.

To commemorate this important day, the National Museum of Kenya (NMK), in collaboration with local community-based organisations and the Mombasa Old Town community at large, has started earlier preparations to organize celebrations to mark the day.

The activities to be conducted include cultural displays and dances, lecture series, youth activities, a fashion show, women’s talks, competitions and awards, poetry, and games, among other activities showcasing the Swahili culture.

The stakeholders have launched a series of curtain-raiser activities in the run-up to the Swahili Day celebrations that are to be held at the National Museums of Kenya Heritage Training Institute (NMKHTI), formerly known as the Swahili Culture Center.

Speaking to the media Swahili Heritage Training Institute Coordinator Khalid Kitito said that they are ready to mark the annual festival in a big way, and they are going to invite Kiswahili scholars and speakers to grace the occasion.

Kitito said they will use the celebration to sensitize people on the importance of language and culture.

“The aim is to highlight the importance of the Kiswahili language globally and to revive dying traditional Swahili cuisine and handicrafts. People will showcase Swahili henna calligraphy and henna painting and also socialize and network with other people who will attend the event,” he said, adding that the theme for this event will be “Kiswahili for peace, cohesion, and integration”.

He said the main objective of the celebrations is not only dancing and enjoying them but also using them as an opportunity to showcase the coast, revive Fort Jesus, and make it a tourist destination.

Tourism, Culture, and Trade County Executive Member Mohammed Osman said that the county government welcomes everyone to participate in the celebrations, noting that the county leadership fully supports the growth of Kiswahili.

On his part, Chief Officer of Tourism Mudhatir Abdulkarim said that several departments have come up to show their interest in celebrating the date, and the county government welcomes them all.

He noted that they will work together to make the day a success, as the language is indigenous to the county.

According to Kitito, everyone will be included in the activities scheduled, which include games like football, swimming competitions, and debates for students.

The elderly people will also be given a chance to teach and showcase Swahili traditional practices, with women participating in cooking competitions.

By Chari Suche

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